Building a Narrative: The Key to Video Marketing

Updated: Jul 6, 2018

Video Marketing is the most effective may to sell your products and services... And the good news is, it's only going to get bigger. There's a reason why Facebook, Instagram and Linked In are rapidly accommodating video into their feeds.

We have all seen excellent videos and advertising campaigns where we feel entertained or enlightened, motivated or emotional. I still remember so many commercials from when I was young which stick out in my mind for being exceptional stories.

Narrative and Video Marketing

This purpose of the commercial above is to get people to buy the new Nike football. How much less effective would this commercial be if Nike had decided to simply tell us that the ball is rounder than previous models and that we should consider buying it?

The creation of this film-like narrative engages us, keeps us watching beyond the first few seconds and we end up with the impression that Nike is a ice-cool brand that we want to be affiliated with.

Google, which is a search engine product with a very simple design and near universal recognition, also incorporates narrative into their video marketing with amazing creativity.

The story is all told through a dozen or so searches and some barely-noticeable audio to develop the story subconsciously. These noises also place the searches in the real world.

In reality, this video probably cost Google a LOT of money (with consultants, marketing psychologists, focus groups etc), but really, how cheaply could a video like this be created?

When you boil it down, it is simply a few screen recordings of Google searches with stock audio over the top. However, it is such an effective display of a product, its features, its function, its effect on our day-to-day lives and its presence at the most important points of our lives. All of this is possible through the construction of the narrative of a man moving to Paris to marry a "french girl" that he met on an exchange program.

Storytelling is the Backbone of Advertising

The story doesn't have to be a constructed narrative like the two examples above, where fictitious storylines are created to show the functionality of your brand. Increasingly, video marketing is moving towards, what we call the "behind-the-scenes" narrative. This is where video marketers allow the customers to see the workings and motivations of a brand from the inside.

This gives a humanizing effect on the brand. The consumer meets to key players in the company and hears the story of the company's inception, challenges the company has surmounted and what the vision is for the future.

This format also lends itself perfectly to the classic arc of storytelling:

  • beginning, middle, end

  • inception, challenges, future

Have a Clear Story

Before filming begins, there should always be a clear plan in place for the story. This should include storyboards and shot lists to aid the development of the story and the efficiency of the shooting day(s).

The goals of a video marketing campaign are broadly the same regardless of the organization.

  1. Define your organization

  2. Increase your reach

  3. Engage your audience

  4. Sell products or services

  5. Make your brand memorable

To achieve all of these goals, storytelling in some form is paramount. Simply stating what your company does helps you define your organization, but it doesn't engage your audience or necessarily help sales. Product videos may help sell products, but they don't make your brand memorable.

The incorporation of some form of story into all marketing videos is vital to achieve big results and to see a great return on investment.

BEN HEMMINGS MEDIA is a leading videography company based in Toronto. We specialize in creating industry-leading corporate videos, commercial videography, professional photography, travel and tourism videography, real estate videography and building strategic video marketing campaigns for our clients.

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